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Full text of "Ten young artists : Theodoron awards : [exhibition, Sept. 24-Nov. 7, 1971] the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York."

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Published by 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation 

New York, 1971 

All Rights Reserved 

© The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 1971 

Library of Congress Card Catalogue Number 77-1 78872 

Printed in the United States of America 


The Solomon G. Guggenheim Foundation 


Peter 0. Lawson-Johnston 

H, H. Arnason 

Eleanor. Countess Castle Stewart 

Joseph W. Donner 

Henry Allen Moe 

A. Chauncey Newlin 

Mrs. Henry Obre 

Daniel Catton Rich 

Albert E.Thiele 

Michael F. Wettach 

Carl Zigrosser 


Power Boothe 
Ron Cooper 
Billy Bryant Copley 
Mary Corse 
Guy Dill 
Andrew Gerndt 
Harriet Korman 
Dona Nelson 
Michael Singer 
George Trakas 

Theodoron is the name of an anonymous founda- 
tion whose primary interest is to aid young and 
promising creative individuals. In 1969 a gener- 
ous grant from Theodoron to The Solomon R. 
Guggenheim Foundation enabled this museum to 
acquire one work from each of the following 
artists: Barry Flanagan, Gerhard Richter, John 
Walker, Gilberto Zorio, Dan Christensen, Bruce 
Nauman, James Seawright, Richard Serra, and 
Peter Young. The basis for the selection was an 
exhibition held here in the same year in which 
every one of the above-mentioned artists was 
represented through several examples. The grant, 
therefore, allowed for the purchase of nine works 
which, even in the short time that has since 
passed, have grown markedly in importance in 
our collection. 

As a result of this initial experiment Theodoron 
agreed to repeat the procedure substantially 
unchanged. The current exhibition selected by 
Associate Curator Diane Waldman with the aid of 
Linda Shearer, curatorial assistant, will again 
enable the Guggenheim to add works both of 
current interest, and we hope, of lasting value to 
our permanent holdings. The grant has been in- 
creased to keep up with rising art prices, although 
purchases are still restricted to the most modest 
commercial category. For convenience's sake the 
talent search was restricted this time to artists 
residing in the United States, in the hope that 
concentration upon other areas may be pursued 
in the future. To assure greater exposure for the 
selected work, circulation to other American 
art institutions has been arranged. 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is grate- 
ful to Theodoron for taking the initiative in this 
project. Through Theodoron, the Guggenheim 
Museum Collection has been enriched, and an 
important service has been rendered to artists 
and public alike. 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 


The basic organization of Power Boothe's painting 
is simplicity itself. The overall canvas, generally 
divided into two equal vertical parts, is invariably 
of a 7 x 6' or 6 x 6' format. Each half is then sub- 
divided into 6, 7, or 8 smaller rectangular parts, 
again of equal size. In contrast to the rigid compo- 
sition, however, there is no formula pre-determin- 
ing whether or not one color covers two or more 
equal areas, thus creating a look of balanced 
asymmetry. The one line rarely transgressed is 
the central vertical line; in this respect Boothe has 
acknowledged an indebtedness to Mondrian, 
having seen one of his cubist tree paintings of ca. 
191 1 -191 2 in which the trunk implicitly bisected 
the canvas vertically. Boothe has been able to use 
the center to activate the canvas, not only as line 
but as demarcation of area. Since the energy 
within the painting is directed toward that point, 
the image seems to exist exclusively around its 
central axis. Like Kenneth Noland's "target" 
paintings of concentric rings done in the early 
1 960's, Boothe's work expresses an acute sensi- 
tivity to the center of the canvas and its relation to 
the framing edge. Where Noland concentrated on 
a figure/ground relationship through a precisely 
centered image and a rigorous avoidance of con- 
tact with the framing edge. Boothe has used the 
center line as his pivotal point allowing freer play 
to the edges. In some paintings, the image stops 
short of the edges, forming an irregular border 
from the unpainted area and establishing and ex- 
plicit relationship to the surface plane. But in 
more recent work he has rejected this approach 
relying solely on the stability resulting from the 
center line and the fluctuation of his color to 
articulate the image. 

The soft, pastel-like colors are gradated so 
subtly that it is often difficult to perceive actual 
distinctions in hue. Consequently, the space 

threatens to dissolve completely into a deep ex- 
panse, but color, value and structural dependen- 
cies counter this tendency; the gradated colored 
forms hover on the surface, drawing qualities of 
light and a sense of necessity from their juxta- 
position. At the same time, however, the all-con- 
suming mystical intensity which permeates 
Boothe's work is never denied; it is established 
by the fragile, almost evanescent capacity of 
color, line and plane to disassociate almost at the 
moment of preception. 


Born in Dallas, Texas, 1945 

Lived in Lafayette, California, 1945-1963 


Attended California College of Arts and Crafts, 
Oakland, Summers, 1963-1965 

Colorado College, Colorado Springs, 1963-1967, 

Whitney Fellow, the Whitney Museum of American 
Art, Independent Study Program, 1967 

Group Exhibitions 

Art Resources Center Gallery (affiliated with the 
Whitney Museum), New York, Group, January 

Art Resources Center Gallery, New 
York, Group, March 1969 

A.M. Sachs Gallery, New York, Group, 
June22-July 15, 1971 

Untitled. 1971. 
Acrylic on canvas 
84 x 72" 

Collection Richard Foreman, New York 


Associated with the so-called "Los Angeles 
school" in his use of new materials and tech- 
niques, Ron Cooper has extended the limits of 
painting in yet another direction. He literally 
builds up a painting out of itself; in this way, he 
has achieved a near dissolution of the ground 
and is no longer working with the support as an 
integral part of the painting. Cooper generally 
works on a waxed glass sheet which serves as the 
mold onto which he sprays or rolls multiple layers 
of dyed polyester resin. After spraying approxi- 
mately 1 layers on the glass, he then laminates 
onto the resin a layer of fiberglass cloth, and 
finally applies another 1 or so layers of resin on 
top of the cloth, with the resulting sheet measur- 
ing Vb to 1 A of an inch thick. As Cooper himself 
has said, he is "working with the closest thing to 
painting on air." 

Like air, the translucent surface reflects, re- 
fracts, and diffuses light; depending on the 
density of the resin, the light varies, producing 
coloristic images. Although the basic overall hue 
depends on his initial choice of colors for the first 
layers of resin, the resulting effect is atmospheric. 
The position of the viewer and the external light 
source also serve to augment and alter this fluidity 
accordingly. Although Cooper is working with 
well-explored commercial materials and proc- 
esses in new ways, he manages to create a 
painterly and expressive quality reminiscent of 
Rothko's emotionally charged paintings without 
succumbing to the finely polished elegance 
favored by many fellow California artists. He in 
fact allows for actual variations in the process of 
applying the resin; the irregularities that occur 
act as residual elements activating the painting 
on a highly expressive level. He retains the jagged 
edges which result from breaking the resin out 
of the mold and "frames" the paintings with a 

transparent piece of resin, thereby enabling light 
to come from behind and illuminate the colors at 
all levels. The reflected light therefore cannot re- 
main static or cut off by a traditional type of frame. 

Because Cooper's work is concerned primarily 
with light and its multiple properties, he continues 
to relate light to the form and structure of the 
painting itself. Instead of a basis in "deductive 
structure," Cooper's work could more aptly relate 
to a type of "inductive structure," whereby the 
structure is the direct result of the painting proc- 
ess. There is no preconceived structure prior to 
the existence of the painting. 

The edges and the frame create shadows on 
the wall; these edges, frames and shadows are as 
important to the resulting form as the actual 
superimposed layers of resin. They function to- 
gether in much the same way as the elements of 
a Ryman painting do by revealing the implications 
to be found in the relation of the painted surface to 
its support and the wall itself. That Cooper is able 
to arrive at such subtlety with the use of plastic 
is unique in itself; it is this ability to transcend 
the nature of his materials that distinguishes 
him from other artists working with similar means. 

Number 97. Black Square. 
First Level Density. May 1 971 . 
Polyester resin and fibergJass 
86 x 86" 


Born New York City, 1943 


Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, California, 

One-Man Exhibitions 

Ace Gallery, Los Angeles, March 1969 

Michael Walls Gallery, San Francisco, March 4- 

Galerie Schmela, Dusseldorf, March 1 0— April 1 , 

Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, 1970. 

Group Exhibitions 

Noah Goldowsky Gallery, New York, Arp to 
Artschwager, Summer 1967 

Hansen Gallery, San Francisco, Plastics X, 1 967 

Whitney Museum, New York, 1967 Annual Exhibi- 
tion of Contemporary Painting, December 1 3- 
February4, 1967 

University Art Gallery, University of California at 
La Jolla, New Work-West Coast, 1 968 

Portland Art Museum, Portland, West Coast Now, 
March 6-September 22, 1 968. Travelled to 
Seattle Art Museum, San Francisco Art Museum, 
Los Angeles Art Museum 

Institute of Contemporary Art, University of 
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Plastics and New Art, 
January 15-February 25, 1969. Travelled to 
Marion Koogler McNay Museum, San Antonio, 
March 16— April 13, 1969 

Seth Siegelaub International Exhibition, March 
1969, March 1 969. Exhibition organized by Seth 
Siegelaub, New York 

Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, 
California, Appearing and Disappearing Image- 
Object, May6-June28, 1969 

West Side Center, Los Angeles, New Directions, 

Reese Palley Gallery, San Francisco, Other City, 
August 11-September 13, 1969 

Dusseldorf, Project 69, September 30-October 

Whitney Museum, New York, 7969 Annual 
Exhibition of Contemporary Painting, December 
17-February9, 1969 

Art Institute of Chicago, 69th Annual Exhibition, 
January 1 7-February 22, 1 970 

Douglas Gallery, Vancouver, Group, November 
12-November29, 1970 

Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, 
Oberlin, Ohio, 3 Young Americans, April 1 7- 
May12, 1970 

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 
Permutations: Light and Color, May 1 6-June 28, 

Friends of Contemporary Art, Denver, Afterquake, 
May21-June12, 1971 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 
24 Young Los Angeles Artists, May 1 1— July 4, 

Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Canada, 
July 2-July 31, 1971 

Untitled. 1971. 

Acrylic on cavas, wire screen 
60 x 96" 


The simple device of using a 26x96" screen 
provides a significant counterpoint in Billy 
Copley's paintings. If the grid created by the wire 
mesh does not illuminate the underlying struc- 
ture of any given painting, it does introduce both 
pattern and area dividing the surface into three 
equal units and establishing a regulated all-over 
configuration. The internal organization of a 
painting is based on the initial disposition of 
earth colors (sand, siena, black, brown, copper, 
blue/brown) worked in a way that suggests a 
murky kaleidoscopic type of space. The overlaid 
screen serves therefore to re-establish the planar 
reality of the image by creating a highly textured 
surface out of the paint. 

In one instance (illustrated), Copley decided 
to leave the screen imbedded in the middle 
section of the canvas, thus placing an even 
greater emphasis on the actual tactility of the 
surface. Curiously enough, this one segment 
does not read like a three-dimensional object in a 
Johnsian play on reality vs. illusion, but instead 
vehemently reinforces the two-dimensional 
nature of its image. As such, Copley has suc- 
ceeded in fusing the painterliness of Abstract 
Expressionism with the concern for materials 
and process common to many younger artists 
working in the late 1 960's. He has re-worked the 
notion of gesture incorporating the fragmentary, 
the casual, the accidental as a fundamental 
part of his work, simultaneously objectifying it 
with the predictably regularized pattern of his 
screen (paralleling Lichtenstein's usage of 
Ben Day dots). At the same time, however, he is 
concerned with the immediate gestalt of his 
materials and their tactility; the materials them- 
selves documented the actual painting process 
as it developed. 

What distinguishes Copley's work is a 
sensibility advancing a de-emphasis on art as 
object. Contrary to the tendencies prevailing in 
the early 1960's, he is inclined toward a more 
casual attitude, at the same time developing to a 
further degree the notion of working out an 
idea in a series with a certain limited number of 
elements. Copley's most recent paintings 
demonstrate the potential to be found in his 
approach; he has expanded the technique of the 
screen by introducing hanging vertical panels in 
a series, each panel measuring 96 x 26", the 
exact size of one screen. 


Born Los Angeles, California, 1946 


Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, 
California, 1964-1965 

Group Exhibitions 

Visual Arts Gallery, The School of Visual Arts, 
New York, Series Photographs, December 3, 
1968-January9, 1969 

Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, Drawings, 
December 1 9, 1 970-January 1 3, 1 971 


Mary Corse's recent paintings (illustrated) 
evolved naturally from her earlier structures of 
neon tubing encased in thin, narrow, almost flat 
plexiglas boxes, which emitted an eerie, tran- 
scendental light without revealing the specific 
physical sources or mechanisms from which 
they were lit. The paintings are comprised of 
glass beads in acrylic, which reflect or refract 
light creating a shifting iridescent and rainbow 
effect which depends on the way in which the 
paintings are lit and on the viewer's position. In 
the first series, she paints and controls the place- 
ment of the glass to organize individual units 
(usually 16) into a holistic image which is further 
contained by a narrow border of raw canvas 
around the edge and keyed by faint color marks 
in the corner of each canvas. Now the glass paint- 
ings are a single, more "psychic," image, formed 
only by the small unpainted angles or squares in 
the corners, reflecting more precisely a halo and 
rainbow around the viewer's shadow. It is appar- 
ent that the interplay between her three-dimen- 
sional constructions and her light paintings is 
based on a common interest. 

Unlike Dan Falvin, who uses fluorescent light 
to suggest color relationships and light as a 
sculptural presence and configuration, Corse 
deals exclusively with advancing a dematerialized 
"white" or "clear" light. The fact that she has 
moved from neon to glass indicates the source 
of her concern: the perception of a singular 
type of light, to which her form is of necessity 
sublimated. Her preoccupation with the essence 
of this experience is based on her awareness 
of the possibility of moving beyond the tangible 
properties of the object; it is this awareness 
which she hopes to expand, and by extension 
give form to light. 

The concept of "clear" light has long been in 
existence, in Tibetan Buddhism, for example: 

Difficult is it to attain Knowledge of the Formless. 
Equally difficult is the acquiring of emancipation 
from karma and rebirth, and the realizing of the 
Clear Light, bright as the combined radiance of a 
gem, of lire, of the Moon, and of the Sun. From the 
Clear Light its kindred lights, shining in the Dark- 
ness, are born. From them cometh the radiance 
and warmth of the light of the Sun. From the light 
of the Sun cometh the light of the Moon; and from 
the Moon, the embodiment of coolness, cometh 
the All-pervading Radiance of Wisdom. Thus, the 
fundamental Voidness, which illuminateth the 
phenomenal objects of Nature, maketh visible all 
the World Systems.'' 

There is a quality of dazzling consciousness 
to Corse's work which refers to the unspoken 
and intimate moments of individual experience. 
Corse's light both generates and is generated 
by its own energy, hovering between the physical 
and the immaterial, between perception of 
natural phenomena and a heightened awareness 
of other states of being. 

iBsre-hpho, translated by Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup. to. 60-I, 
in Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines, Evans-Wentz, W.Y., 
editor, Oxford University Press, New York, 1968, p. 167. 


Halo with Rainbow Series. 1971. 

Glass beads in paint 

108x 108" 


Born Berkeley, California, 1945 


Attended University of California, Santa Barbara, 

Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, 
California, 1964-1968 

Group Exhibitions 

University of California at Los Angeles 
Art Galleries, Los Angeles, Electric Art, 
January 20-March 23, 1 969 

Locksley/Shea Gallery, Minneapolis, Young 
Artists, June 27-July 18, 1970 

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 

Permutations: Light and Color, May 16-June 28, 


Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, Looking 

West 1970, October 1 8-November 29, 1 970 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 
1970 Annual Exhibition: Contemporary American 
Sculpture, December 12, 1 970-February 7, 1971 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, 
24 Young Los Angeles Artists, May 1 1 -July 4, 

Untitled. June 1971. 
Cement, stainless cable, steel 
36 x 96 X 36" 

Courtesy Irving Blum Gallery, Los Angeles 


Like the two other sculptors in the exhibition, 
the physical environment is a crucial determining 
factor in Guy Dill's work. In the interaction of a 
work's surroundings with its form and materials, 
Dill however has largely precluded the obligatory 
presence of an active spectator who relates 
both physically and emotionally to the work. 
Vital to the meaning of his work are the relation- 
ships he establishes between his materials, 
the forms they assume and their juxtaposition to 
wall and floor surface. His earlier work of heavy 
wooden constructions suspended from the wall 
has been superceded by work of a more 
refined nature exhibiting greater tensions. His 
current work utilizes both the wall and floor 
in a way that sets up a dynamic interplay of 
balances and stresses, in contrast to Michael 
Singer who never exerts strain on his materials. 
These works hold the surface of the wall by 
extremely slight means, extending from the wall 
to the floor in a way that puts intense pressure 
on the actual materials. Moreover, in several 
recent works the basic configuration is bow- 
shaped (illustrated), further emphasizing the 
tenuous connection between the work, the wall 
and the floor. 

The degrees of tactility created by different 
materials serve to heighten one's awareness of 
place itself as a specific environment. In spite of 
his concern for materials, however, Dill is by 
no means a process artist. Dill, in exploring the 
objective properties of his materials ratherthan 
attempting to evoke a poetic association from 
them, does not allow the on-going process of 
decomposition or reorganization evident in the 
work of George Trakas. Rather he establishes 
from the onset a coordination of parts which 
in their simplicity serve to delineate a common 
identity. As such, we perceive in the basic form 

itself, the terse physical relationship set up 
between materials— cement beam, stainless 
cable, steel-and the finite relationship to wall 
and floor planes. The support of the construction 
is contingent on three main points of counter- 
balance where it touches the wall or floor. The 
area where the work is attached to the wall 
generates the major portion of tension and 
balance, while the cement beam functions like 
an arrow stretched in a taut bow ready to be 
sprung. This beam has been wedged without the 
aid of any extraneous support so that the entire 
piece evolves from its self-perpetuating 
dynamic energy. 

In addition, the purely structural energy created 
by each work is augmented by the interplay of 
surfaces and textures. In contrast to the work 
illustrated wherein the cement acts as a foil to the 
cable and steel, Dill has also worked with 
single strips of safety glass hung on the wall, 
as well as with strips of aluminum and glass, 
also hung. In these examples he reveals the 
conflicting nature of transparent and solid 
materials and their relationship to each other. 


Born Jacksonville, Florida, 1946 


Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, California, 
1967-1970, B.F.A. 


Friends of Contemporary Art, Denver, Colorado, 
Afterquake, May 21 -June 12, 1971 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, 
24 Young Los Angeles Artists, May 1 1— July 4, 



Working out of the relatively recent tradition of 
monochromatic painting, Andrew Gerndt's 
paintings are executed almost without exception 
in grey. Gerndt himself attributes his predilection 
for grey to its implicit inclusion of both hue and 
value; he has forced grey to be read as color. 
The frontal surface is painted absolutely flat 
without inflection; the completely neutral surface 
has apparently been abstracted to a final 
reduction. But because the surface is in fact 
painted and because Gerndt incorporates varia- 
tions in panel size, the work provides a vital, as 
opposed to static, experience for the viewer. 

Monochrome painting has developed in two 
basic directions: the intuitive and meditative; 
the conceptual and structural. Gerndt's work 
partakes of the latter; he has often employed a 
repetitive format, as well as changes in scale, 
and has frequently painted the extreme edges of 
the support. Therefore, observing one of these 
canvases, the viewer is not drawn into space, 
but rather he is confronted by the holistic blank 
image and then drawn out to the edges and 
beyond— either to the adjacent panel or to an 
awareness of the wall itself. But this consequence 
should not lead one to assume that the painted 
grey surface is irrelevant to the experience; 
it is precisely because of the absolute reality of 
the picture plane that the viewer is capable 
of an expanded response. With regard to an 
Untitled painting of 1 970 (illustrated), Gerndt has 
said: "Numbers interest me because they have 
the possibility of multiple descriptions of a single 
structure. In the painting the number one is im- 
portant because it represents the entire unit. After 
the number one, five, two and three seem to 
follow or possibly five, three and two in either 
order. In this particular painting the numbers 
jump from a recognizable secondary state, hence 

the modulation of form above the panels." He 
painted the top edge of all five canvases with 
narrow black and white stripes (whose measure 
is equivalent to that of the spaces between each 
canvas) at regular intervals; the effect is that of 
light reflecting onto the wall from the intervals 
painted white. Whereas the actual scale alters 
radically between the left two and the right three 
panels, so that the configuration or image occurs 
at the edges, the painted top remains the fixed ele- 
ment in the composition. Rejecting the tendency 
to intentionally evoke a mystical moment, Gerndt's 
work compels the viewer to respond to its 
absolute objectness, while at the same time, 
the unequivocal greyness suffuses each 
canvas with light. 


Born New York, New York, 1949 


School of Visual Arts, New York, 1 967-1 971 


Visual Arts Gallery, New York, Year-End Student 
Exhibition, 4th Year Students, May 28-June 4, 

UniiVed. 1970. 
Acrylic on canvas 
60 x 276* 


Loosely basing much of her work on a grid-like 
framework, Korman does not concern herself with 
the now academic issues of cubist derived spatial 
and formal relationships. Her drawn line or 
colored bars are a way to approach the canvas, to 
get from one side to the other, and to make a 
place for the painting to be, as opposed to where 
it is not — on the whole surface. She has, in fact, 
experimented with this very problem, producing 
several paintings consisting only of a structure of 
widely spaced painted wooden strips. In many 
other works the surface which has been marked 
with colored lines, is covered with gesso which is 
then scrapped off at regular intervals to reveal the 
line or stripe lying just beneath the immediate 
surface. Here the activity in the painting is where 
there is no paint, or where it has been removed. 
She has recently started using tape as a way to 
synthesize the former process, thus allowing for 
more imaginative manipulation. 

In one unusual painting, Untitled, of 1969, 
Korman stitched together three equal rectangular 
pieces of dyed canvas (one blue, one yellow, 
one faded red); she then covered the canvas with 
a thin layer of gesso, after which she exposed 
five vertical "striped" lines. The lines were 
each composed of the three colors and served to 
stabilize the work through a fragile sense of 
structure. Yet another structural element is 
evident: two horizontal lines of canvas were 
formed by sewing together the three pieces, thus 
creating a very explicit affirmation of the surface, 
as well as a subtle reformation of the grid 
system on which she bases many paintings. 

In contrast to any applied system of color, 
Korman's sense of color is ultimately intuitive 
and evocative, being willful and capricious at the 
same time. Suffice it to say that she uses color in 
a way which liberates it from strict methodology. 

In a similar manner, she is not bound to a specific 
format, as attested to by her most recent paintings. 
They further demonstrate her preoccupation with 
the energy activated by the play between painted 
and unpainted areas. The bars serve as the sur- 
face of the canvas which can be painted upon; the 
bars however are no longer strictly bars, but 
literally have been extended beyond their rigidly 
vertical contours. 


Born Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1947 
Has lived in New York since 1 948 


Queens College, Queens, New York (B.A.), 

Attended Skowhegan School of Painting and 
Sculpture, Maine, Summer 1968 

One-man Exhibitions 

Galerie Ricke, Cologne, Paintings, March 20- 
April 15, 1970 

Galerie Ricke, Cologne, Drawings, July 2- 
September2, 1971 

Group Exhibitions 

Galerie Ricke, Cologne, Drawings of American 
Artists, May-September 1970 

Kunstmarkt, Cologne, October, 1970 

Noah Goldowsky Gallery, New York, Group, 
May 1971 

Galerie Ricke, Cologne, 7 New Works, 
April 2-April 27, 1971 

Sculpture Pier, New York, Brooklyn Festival, 
May 22, 23, and 24, 1 971 . Sponsored by the 
Municipal Arts Society. 

Untitled. 1971. 
Acrylic on canvas 
72 x 84" 


Celery. 1971. 

Ink and crayon on paper 



Dona Nelson's paintings and drawings have an 
affinity with the work of Agnes Martin. Generally 
basing her work structurally on the static image of 
a rib or a "T," she utilizes either a symmetrical 
or an asymmetrical reticulated system to create 
a single image. Not unlike Boothe, Nelson em- 
ploys a central axis which divides the canvas (or 
paper) in half, from which a seemingly uniform 
pattern is established. Unlike Boothe, however, 
the architectonic structure forms the basis of her 
work, employing either or both verticals and hori- 
zontals. Although the configurations are in fact 
patently derived from such mundane objects as 
windows and telephone poles, and refer directly 
to an architectural foundation, the resulting 
images are totally non-referential. 

The segments comprising a painting relate in 
kind to some of Ellsworth Kelly's chance paintings 
of the early 1 950's; they alternate between a 
purely intuitive and a modular systematic type of 
pictorial construction. Nelson, like Kelly, exhibits 
a strong feeling for well-proportioned composi- 
tions, which are, more often than not, highly 
erratic in the final disposition. Nelson moves 
across the surface of her canvas, simply filling it 
up; by using oil paint she can achieve a naturally 
textured surface. Each mark is equal to all other 
marks, just as every unit which makes up a wall 
is equal to the other units The weightiness of the 
line, the density of the colors, the fragmented 
tangibility of the surface all project an overall 
sense of a permanent concrete reality. In addition, 
by looking at Indian miniatures and relating their 
particular perception of color to her own work, 
Nelson's color has become increasingly subtle 
and more organic in relation to the entire 


Born Grand Island, Nebraska, 1947 


Ohio State University, 1 965—1 968, B.F.A. 


The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, 
Ridgefield, Connecticut, 26 Contemporary 
Women Artists, April 18-June 13, 1971. Exhibition 
organized and catalogue introduction by 
Lucy R. Lippard 


Michael Singer is developing a body of sculpture 
based on principles of balance. To mainlain a 
stable position in a straightforward manner, 
Singer has aligned a series of individual units 
into constructions in which each segment is 
mutually interdependent on every other one. The 
work is complicated to a further degree: nearly 
all his sculptures have the capacity for move- 
ment; as a result a potential for disorder is 
imminent since no two poised elements are joined 
together. Although Singer uses a number of 
different materials— wood, steel, rattan, etc.— he 
manipulates them all to conform to a common 
vision. He imbues a weighty, solid material like 
steel with properties of flexibility and lightness, 
thus making it appear no heavier than the rattan, 
whereas the rattan seems equal in weight 
to the steel. 

The act of motion within a single piece 
necessitates the presence of a participant— a 
deliberate confrontation, or a mere chance 
situation in which the piece is touched acci- 
dentally, for example, by the wind. Although the 
weight is evenly distributed, any overly forceful 
action can threaten the controlled state of equili- 
brium. Singer has been involved in performance 
and has danced with Yvonne Rainer; it is therefore 
only natural that his sculpture would include 
spectator participation. Earlier Robert Morris had 
introduced this element of participant involve- 
ment; his preoccupation with theories of dance 
and performances were related directly 
to his sculpture. 

As a result of his experience with performance, 
Singer's work embodies a strong humanizing 
quality, not unlike George Trakas': the scale itself 
is based on the human figure, and it is the human 
(and conscious) element which proves necessary 
to activate any given work to its fullest potential 

as a piece. With the introduction of motion 
there is a heightened awareness of the nature 
of the material— as it is and as it is transformed 
into another context through a transcendence of 
the medium. 

For any sculptor, the issue of a "base" 
presents a major dilemma. The work of David 
Smith, the first truly radical sculptor to advance 
this issue, provided the necessary break- 
through for the next generation. The Minimalist 
usage of simple geometric units placed directly 
on the floor incorporated, in the work of 
Carl Andre, the alignment of particles that re- 
jected any form of joining. Andre was instru- 
mental in advancing a new attitude toward 
sculpture by redirecting the energy originally 
projected into the actual physical making of an 
object to a "consciousness" of the unmanipu- 
lated object as a force existing within a specific 
environment. For Singer the problem of the 
base is particularly acute: since the work exists 
only in a balanced state, each element usually 
has to be counterbalanced on another element. 
In order to find a solution, in several instances 
(including the piece illustrated), he has chosen to 
use stacked bricks as the supporting form; 
these bricks are consistent with the total work 
in their placement since they too are unconnected 
and simply set one upon the other. They form 
in effect a springboard for the work without 
resorting to the traditional conventions 
of the base. 

Balance XXIV. Spring 1971. 
Wood and lead fire brick 
18'x24'x 10" 


Born Brooklyn, New York, 1 945 


Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 1963-1967, 


Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 
Graduate Study 

Group Exhibitions 

Art Resources Center Gallery (affiliated with the 

Whitney Museum of American Art), New York, 

Group, March 1969 

Hudson Street Loft, New York, Group, April 1970 

Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York, 

Light and Movement, December 11,1 970- 

January3, 1971 

Finch Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, 

Projected Art— Artists at Work, March 13-May 2, 




Untitled. 1971. 

Glass, rope, ashes, branches, sand bags 

67 x 47"; length at base 1 24" 

As a construction laborer and a builder, George 
Trakas become preoccupied with basic archi- 
tectural principles, which he subsequently incor- 
porated into his sculpture. Multiple associations 
of his work emanate from one fundamental struc- 
ture, the roof, of which the most immediate mani- 
festation is a significant sense of scale related to 
the human body. While he relies on the rigid 
symmetry of the roof as his principal framework, 
he transforms its ordered form into a more pre- 
cariously balanced and fragmented presence 
which nevertheless appears to be absolutely 
cohesive in its totality. 

Trakas' highly personal usage of accumulated 
materials has much in common with "process 
art." He has in fact been involved in a form of 
"earthworks," and even his latest work is often 
based on a concern with a natural "process" 
that takes place over an unspecified period of 
time. Within this context, Trakas places strong 
emphasis on the fragmented and conflicting 
nature of materials— both organic and prefabri- 
cated, at the same time evoking poetic associa- 
ions through his sense of juxtaposition. It is 
in the articulation of his materials that Trakas' 
work most closely approaches that of Eva 
Hesse's: her reformulations of Minimalist atti- 
tudes and Abstract Expressionist sentiments, 
which she redefined with a new sensibility 
that fused and expanded both tendencies, have 
illuminated many subsequent developments in 
sculpture of the last few years. 

In several works executed during the past year, 
Trakas has infused his structures with the 
element of chance, thereby imposing a threat- 
ening ambience onto both the work and its 
immediate surroundings. In one piece, for ex- 
ample, an interior structure was held in place by 
one single length of rope, which extended out a 

window and was anchored to a rock that was 
wedged in a corner of masonry. The continued 
existence of the piece relied entirely on the dura- 
bility of the rope-which was dependent on the 
weather conditions; the rope responded directly 
to the amount of moisture in the air by alternately 
expanding and contracting, until finally during a 
torrential rainstorm the rope contracted and 
pulled down the structure. In yet another work, he 
poured concrete into a trough made of glass, 
lathe and steel; the glass, unable to endure the 
stress created by the concrete as it settled, broke 
neatly in half, allowing the concrete to fall to the 
floor. In both cases, Trakas foresaw the conse- 
quences, but could not predetermine the exact 
amount of time necessary to accomplish the act. 
In this respect, Trakas elaborated on the Cageian 
concept of chance to the extent that he con- 
sciously experimented with a form of 
premeditated chance. 

Materials therefore play a crucially important 
role in Trakas' work not only as elements 
recording a process, but also fortheir meaning, 
particularly in relationship to each other. Each 
material is defined in terms of weight, texture, and 
plasticity. Glass, for instance, refers to a hard, 
smooth and cold medium, acting in direct con- 
trast to the other materials often used by 
Trakas (rope, branches, ashes, sandbags, etc.). 
Additionally, glass is both a reflective and a 
transparent medium, two implied aspects of glass 
which Trakas does not fail to incorporate 
as an integral part of his work. 

Even more significant than the mere juxta- 
positions are the associations that they imply. 
In this respect, his materials assume the role of 
evocative fragments, while the process is also 
subsumed in a body of imagery asserting 
itself and being transformed into highly poetic 
and personal metaphor. 


Born Quebec, Canada, 1944 


Sir George Williams University, Montreal, 


The New School for Social Research, 

New York, 1963 

Hunter College, New York, 1964-1967 

Brooklyn Museum Art School, 1 964 — 1 967 

Art Students League, New York, 1967 

Attended New York University, Institute of 

Fine Arts, 1967 

New York University, B.S., 1967-1969 

Group Exhibitions 

1 1 2 Greene Street, New York, Group, 
September-October, 1970 

1 1 2 Greene Street, New York, Group, 

December 1970 

Sculpture Pier, New York, Brooklyn Bridge 

Festival, May 22, 23 and 24, 1 971 . Sponsored by 

the Municipal Arts Society 

Museum of Modern Art, New York, 

Projects: Pier 18, July 1 9-August 2, 1 971 


The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 


Administrative Assistant 




Associate Curator 
Assistant Curator 

Thomas M. Messer 

Linda Konheim 
Agnes R. Connolly 
Susan L Halper 

Louise Averill Svendsen 

Diane Waldman 

Margit Rowell 

Mary Joan Hall 

Linda Shearer 
Carol Fuerstein 


Assistant Conservator 




Orrin Riley 
Lucy Belloli 
Saul Fuerstein 

Robert E. Mates 
Paul Katz 
Roger Anthony 
Dana Cranmer 

Olticer, Public Altairs 

Membership Secretary 
Book Store Supervisor 
Intormation Coordinator 


Assistant Superintendent 
Head Guard 

Robin M. Green 

Anne M. Grausam 

Miriam Emden 

Cheryl Wells 

Darne Hammer 
Carolyn Porcelli 

Peter G. Loggin 
Guy Fletcher, Jr. 
Charles F. Banach 
Yolanda Bako 


All photographs by Robert E. Mates and Paul Katz, with the 
exception of: 

Ron Cooper: Dan Zimbaldi 

Mary Corse: Eason Design 

Guy Dill: Patrick Coffman 

Michael Singer: Photographed by the artist 

George Trakas: Photographed by the artist 

2,500 copies of this catalogue designed by Malcolm Grear, 
type set by Craftsman Type Inc., have been printed by 
Meriden Gravure, in September, 1971, for the Trustees of the 
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation on the occasion of the 
exhibition, "Ten Young Artists: Theodoron Awards."